The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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We decided to try the new Brick House Tavern and Tap in Clearwater tonight.  The noise level is off the charts from the moment you open the door.  I think we counted at least 30 TV’s from where we were sitting and I’m sure we missed some.  Our waiter came to take our order and after that, we barely saw him again.  We started off with the spiked calamari.

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We had to flag down another server to ask for plates and silverware since our waiter neglected to bring any to the table.  The calamari was really good.  Thick pieces with a nice crunch.  It was tasty.  For his entree, Loren ordered the grilled mahi mahi.

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He said it was cooked well.  The fish was tender and flaky and had a nice seasoning to it.  I ordered the pork meatball sandwich with a side of tots.

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I liked the flavor of the meatballs, but wasn’t too keen on the bbq sauce on them.  It was a bit spicy and just a little too strong that it covered up the delicate flavor of the meatballs.  My drink was empty halfway through the meal, but our waiter was no where to be found.  Eventually, he came by to clear the plates and cleared my empty glass without asking if I’d like something more to drink.  Now,  here’s the odd part.  When he brought the check, he brought two to-go cups filled with water & tea which we didn’t ask for.  It would have been nice to have our drinks filled during our meal, but why would you just bring to-go drinks for no reason??   Overall, the food was good, but the poor service and the fact that it’s a loud sports bar will likely mean we won’t be back anytime soon. Total bill with a drink was $41.

Brick House Tavern and Tap
28795 US 19 N
Clearwater, FL
(727) 726-6352

Brickhouse Tap And Tavern on Urbanspoon

Food4/5
Service1/5
Atmosphere1/5
Value3/5
2.5/5

My sister & I were in Orlando this weekend and had lunch at Hawkers.  It’s an Asian street fare tapas restaurant  We ordered and shared four different items.  First up, the vegetarian spring rolls.

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These were pretty standard spring rolls.  Next up were the curry meatballs.

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These had a bit of spice to them, but the curry wasn’t overwhelmingly hot.  The meatballs had a good texture and flavor.  The last two items we ordered were the Bok Choy and Crispy Canton Noodles.

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Both of these suffered from an overabundance of salt.  The bok choy was cooked well, but it was also supposed to have shitake mushrooms and I think there was one on the plate.  The veggies in the crispy noodles were tender crisp with some pieces of pork.  We kept dunking the crispy noodles into the sauce to soften them, but then they just got too salty to eat.  They have a large menu of different items, but these four were enough to fill us for the afternoon.  Total bill was $21.

Hawkers Asian Street Fare
1103 N. Mills Ave
Orlando, FL
407-237-0606

Hawkers Asian Street Fare on Urbanspoon

Food3/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.0/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Asian, Orlando
  • Since MecaFresh is closed on Sundays during the summer and that’s when we usually went there after going to a movie, we decided to go for lunch today instead.  They had the Valentino, a meatball panini on special today, so I went for that while Loren went for a combo roast beef panini and salad.

    I always forget that the full panini is too big for me.  I ended up eating one half and then picking the meatballs out of the other half.  I like the meatballs here.  They’re soft and tasty and the tomato sauce is flavorful.  Loren liked his roast beef & salad as well.

    I forgot they started offering free frozen yogurt here.  We were getting ready to leave when the server came by and asked us if we wanted some.

    They only have one flavor a day & today’s was vanilla.  It’s very rich and creamy and by the look on Loren’s face, cold enough to trigger brain freeze.   Total bill with a drink was $19.

    MecaFresh
    3235 Tampa Road
    Palm Harbor, FL
    727-773-8839

    Mecafresh Cafe on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value3/5
    3.4/5

    Italian Lunch


    We decided to stop at Fratelli’s Italian Restaurant for lunch today.  They have an inexpensive lunch menu with a lot of different dishes from sandwiches to pastas and pizza.  Both the food and service have been hit or miss here, but today everything was ok.  Loren got the meatball sub with fries.

    The meatballs are pretty tasty, but the fries were just ok.  They really weren’t very crispy and that’s the way he likes them.  I got the cheese manicotti.

    It was like lava when it got to the table, so I had to munch on the bread while it cooled.  The bread was very buttery and had a nice texture.  It’s a dense bread which makes it great for dipping in the sauce.  The two manicotti were cheesy and tasty.  I wish they would add more lighting to this restaurant though.  It just looks like a dark bar when you walk in.   Total bill with a drink was $15.

    Fratelli Italian Restaurant and Bar
    120 Commerce Blvd, Ste 1
    Oldsmar, FL
    813-854-1717

    Fratelli Italian Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

    Food3/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value3/5
    3.0/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Italian, Oldsmar
  • We avoid chain restaurants, but there are a few that I really do like.  They just opened a BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse at Countryside Mall and their menu is filled with so many yummy options.  They have a little bit of everything on their menu, so it really is hard to choose.  Today we opted for some appetizers and small bites.

    The first time we ate at a BJ’s we ordered the avocado eggrolls and that experience stuck with me.  If you like avocado, this is the appetizer for you.

    These are so awesome.  The crunchy shell with the soft avocado plus a bunch of other flavorful ingredients.  They have just a hint of spiciness and they make my mouth water just thinking about them.  Yum!

    We also tried the spinach stuffed mushrooms, mini meatballs, and gourmet mac & cheese.

    Out of the three, I’d say the mini meatballs were my favorite.  They had an interesting flavor that was tangy and sweet, yet had a little bit of spice too.  I really liked them.  The stuffed mushrooms were good, but fairly generic.  The mac & cheese was like lava when it was served, so we ended up eating everything else first and taking most of it home.  It was very creamy & had a nice flavor though.  Loren really liked the bread that came with the dishes too.  It was toasted perfectly, crunchy, yet not hard.  With a drink, the total was $27.  They make some really tasty comfort food here.

    BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse
    27001 US Highway 19N
    Clearwater, FL
    727-726-8855

    BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value3/5
    3.4/5